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Opinion: What’s the future of Trumpism?

Sep 30, 2021


How much staying power does the Trump movement hold? We may not know until the 2022 midterm elections, but we’ve recently seen some strong signs about what’s ahead for the Republican party. For starters, the California recall of Governor Gavin Newsom resulted in a big win for the Democrats, and the Justice for J6 rally in support of the January 6th demonstrators was basically a flop. That doesn’t mean Trumpism is on the way out because those two signals come with some significant caveats.

You know, we’ve been following on my program, what is likely to be the future of Trumpism and the degree of control which Trumpism may or may not have over the Republican party and the American political landscape going forward. 

Now, as I’ve said before, I don’t think we’ll really know what the future of Trumpism is for sure at least until the 2022 midterm elections. 

If the Trumpian Republicans like Marjorie Taylor green and Lauren Boebert and Madison Cawthorne and others, if they all run and get reelected in November of 2022, it will be a boost to Trumpism, and it may even boost Donald Trump into thinking “I really should run for president again in 2024.”

If the 2022 midterms go disastrously for those Trumpists, if people that Trump endorses lose in November of 2022, it could be a signal not only of the decline of Trumpism, but it might be a signal that sort of waves off Donald Trump from even running in 2024.

So I think we need those results to really know the full scope of it. 

But just over the last couple of weeks, we’ve had two signals that are potentially significant trouble signals for Trumpism, both with caveats. And I’ll tell you what the caveats are. I have no interest in overstating or understating this case. 

The first such signal was the California gubernatorial recall in which Republicans were completely humiliated by nearly 30 points. The recall movement lost. If you didn’t follow it, this is a movement which sought to recall, meaning remove, the California Democratic governor Gavin Newsom. Now why they would even want to do that? I’m not sure. Yes, there is a homelessness problem in California, as there is in many places, the policies proposed by Republicans wouldn’t solve the homelessness problem. But, as far as COVID goes, California now has one of the lowest positivity rates in the country, and Newsom has handled it more or less well.

The California economy – people talk about it’s really expensive in California. It’s really expensive in California because a lot of people want to live in California. It’s called supply and demand. You’d think these free marketeers would know that – California having economic growth on par with some rapidly growing, developing nations. 

So I never really understood why they wanted to remove Gavin Newsom to begin with, but California makes it relatively easy to start a recall. And they did.  The primary alternative was Republican Larry Elder, essentially a Trump clone. 

The only area of disagreement I was able to find between Larry Elder and Donald Trump was that Larry Elder doesn’t think Trump’s China tariffs were a good idea, but otherwise Elder has been right there with Trump. 

And on COVID, Larry Elder said, I will end every mask requirement. I end every vaccine requirement and on and on and on.  Well, they had their recall. 

And on September 14th, they lost terribly by almost 30 points. 

The voters in California opted to keep Gavin Newsom. 

Now, in a sense, this is a mini referendum on Trump. 

It was overwhelmingly Trumpist California Republicans who wanted to remove Newsom. The guy that they most wanted to replace Newsom with who had a plurality of the second question vote was a Trump clone in Larry Elder, and they lost miserably, potentially a sign of trouble for Trumpism in the United States. 

Second, September 18th was the day of the so-called justice for J six rally in Washington, DC. This was maybe not overtly a Trump, a pro-Trump event, but the point of it was to come out and support those arrested for their role in the Trump riots. Those were all Trumpists. And to argue that they’re being unfairly held in bad conditions in jail, prison, et cetera.

I believe it’s really exclusively jail at this point in time. A few dozen people showed up and the event was so pathetic even Matt Braynard, one of the organizers, failed to articulate what they were even doing there, but there were hundreds of police, hundreds of media people, and just a few dozen actual protestors or rally goers. 

Now, what are the caveats here? I’ve given you the case for two signs that point to trouble for Trumpism. Okay. What are the caveats? 

Well, one caveat is California Republicans are not Republicans in the rest of the United States. So even if the Republicans who pushed the recall in California were mostly pro-Trump Republicans, Republicans in most of the country are different than those in California and so it’s not really a signal about Trumpism.

What about the justice for J six rally? Well, there were Trumpists saying “I would not go to this event” either because they falsely believed it was a false flag, or they believed that it was going to be used to entrap people, or because it wasn’t going to achieve anything.

So even though the turnout was pathetic, and we might say this also points to the waning influence of Trumpism, the counter to that, the caveat would be, there were Trumpists saying don’t even actually go. So what’s the answer?

My sense is these are potential trouble signs for Trumpism, but that we aren’t really going to know until the 2022 midterms take place. 

I am more excited for these midterms from the standpoint of this is a real opportunity to achieve some change than I have been for any midterms in a long time. 

Not only do we have everybody in the House up for reelection, as we always do, we also have one third of the Senate, including some key Republican seats up for reelection and some very interesting gubernatorial races. Democrat Beto O’Rourke will be challenging Greg Abbott, the Republican incumbent governor in Texas.  Abbott’s been a disaster on COVID, on energy, on everything. And this is a real chance these November of 22 midterms to achieve some important progressive change. 

So is Trumpism waning? Maybe, some signs of trouble, but we won’t really know until November of 22 and everybody’s got to vote because it’s uncertain. We don’t know until we know. And so we’ll be talking about the importance of voting in that election as soon as discussion gets going about the key races.

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